Climate Science Program

Contact us

Got a question or comment? Contact us at (515) 294-9871or e-mail

Kirsten S. Hofmockel

Assistant Professor


Office: 237 Bessey

Phone: 515-294-2589





Department: Ecology, Evolution & Organismal Biology (EEOB)

Research Interests: connecting microscale mechanism to ecosystem-scale biogeochemical processes

Brief description of current research:

Human activities are altering global carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) cycles at an unprecedented rate. It is unclear how significant changes in global elemental cycles will affect ecosystem functions, such as primary productivity or C storage over the long-term. My research aims to understand how plant-microbe interactions mediate ecosystem-specific responses to global climate change. This research connects microbial processes to ecosystem functions to yield new insights into microbial ecology and elemental cycling.

Research in my laboratory focuses on three main questions:
1. What are the mechanisms structuring soil microbial communities?
2. How do functional groups of microorganisms respond to changing environmental conditions (e.g. elevated atmospheric N deposition, warming, altered precipitation, restoration)?
3. How does variation in specific microbial communities relate to decomposition and N cycling?

Recent publications:

Hofmockel, K. S., D. R. Zak, K. K. Moran, and J. D. Jastrow, 2011: Changes in forest soil organic matter pools after a decade of elevated CO2 and O3. Soil Biol. Biochem., 43.

Drake, J. E., A. G. Budynek, K. S. Hofmockel, E. S. Bernhardt, S. A. Billings, and R. B. Jackson, 2011: Increases in the flux of carbon belowground stimulate nitrogen uptake and sustain the long-term enhancement of forest productivity under elevated CO2. Ecol. Lett., 14.

Treseder, K. K., T. C. Balser, M. A. Bradford, E. L. Brodie, E. A. Dubinsky, V. T. Eviner, K. S. Hofmockel, J. T. Lennon, U. Y. Levine, B. J. MacGregor, I. Pett-Ridge, and M. P. Waldrop, 2011: Integrating microbial ecology into ecosystem models: Challenges and priorities. Biogeochem.

Hofmockel, K. S., R. B. Jackson, A. Finzi, A. Gallet-Budynek, H. R. McCarthy, and W. S. Currie, 2011: Sources of increased N uptake in forest trees growing under elevated CO2: Results of a large-scale 15N study. Global Change Biol.